Final outcome - Extinction Rebellion
Brief: Engage a diverse audience on the theme of species loss.
Art group: Riezan, Kai, Carol
XR group: Amber, Sanjana, Jason, Kai, Pat, Ana, Jiayi, Jae, Tonicha
After receiving the feedback from Extinction Rebellion we only had a week left to finalise our project. We therefore spent the whole Monday and Tuesday planning and preparing for the big funeral performance/protest on Wednesday. The performance group built the coffin that would represent the focal point of the funeral. They also included animal cries that were coming out of the coffin and photographs and masks of animated animal characters to refer to animal extinction and help create an emphatic response from the public.
Our group decided to design a reset button that would allow for everything we have done as a group to culminate and boil down to ‘this is a choice we need to make’. We designed a button that looked like a tombstone for the coffin. It represents the fact that the Earth is on the verge of a reset, but we are living in a state of in-between. If we choose to reset our actions instead, we increase the chances of many more future generations thriving on Earth. If not, we continue towards our extinction.
The disappearance of cartoon characters.
On a rainy Wednesday we invited everybody to dress in black and join our funeral for the animals. Although the weather set a gloomy atmosphere, it did not help regarding the participation. Unfortunately, only thirty of the invited students participated and therefore the effect was not as good as we had hoped for. When we were walking, people did pay attention, but it was not until we had stopped in front of Southwark Council that people came to us asking about our cause and performance. Although some of them were very argumentative about the actions of Extinction Rebellion and some other ignorant, a lot of them expressed support for our cause.
We then created a news segment that combined all the work from different groups. It starts as people from all over the world talk about the global crisis, continues to animal interviews and finishes with the reportage of the animal funeral. This was also the outcome we showed at our final presentation and the feedback was great. People liked that we went to the streets, tried different things and included a humorous note on this serious topic.
To me, this project was an exploration of a new field of protests and activism. It raised a lot of questions such as what is the action following the protest, who is the target audience and if it is even in our ability to make a change. It made me realize how easy it is to feel small in the world run by corporations and people driven by the culture of consumerism, where it is easy to look the other way. I do feel that some of the art ideas we had, if realized, would have made an interesting impact. I believe that we spent too much time listening to different opinions and changing our ideas instead of just creating a piece and observing the reactions. All thing considered, I feel that this project opened my eyes to some of the issues we face as humankind as well as enabled me to experience a bigger group dynamic, which can definitely be helpful in the future.